Saturday, January 29, 2005

Face-to-Face Communication

People don�t communicate face-to-face much anymore. It seems most are inclined to use written or phone communication. Even when I visit someone in their cube, they will say �just a minute� and interrupt our discussion to respond to the Instant Message from a friend. It�s strange to me that someone would feel an urgency to respond to a person through a typed message (which is delayed communication) than to a person standing right in front of them at their desk. It kind of reminds me of how ridiculous call waiting is. You interrupt a call you are having with a friend to answer an incoming call from someone you don�t know. How crazy is that?

I�m not sure people know how to communicate face-to-face. Everyone has become accustomed to email, chat, IM, and ICQ. They understand the smiley faces and frowny faces transmitted over computer wires but have lost the ability to read a real live person.

I got on the elevator yesterday and everyone was looking at some kind of handheld device. No one looked up. Some were looking at their pagers, others were scrolling through their Blackberries, and one guy was listening to an iTune on his iPod.

No one says: �Hi, how�s it going?� or �Nice weather.� Or �Looks like a storm.� One guy without a device still wasn't talking. He was staring earnestly and longingly at the descending numbers displayed above the buttons. He reminded me of a dog begging to go outside. I suspect he�s uncomfortable with small talk.

When the elevator door opened, everyone rushed out like a cascading river, and spilled in all directions, plugging their ear buds into their phones.

Wait a minute, I see a pattern here. Oh I get it. Everyone wants to talk to someone else but me.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. ~Leo Tolstoy